Originally Posted by Mr. Audio
The whole 3 dB thing is underrated I think. People always seem to scoff if they think they can only squeeze a measly 3 dB more out of a sound system when in fact while you're playing something very loud already and the peak lights are flickering you wish that you could go just a little louder.
I have a number of friends who have invested a lot of money in a number of those extra 3 dB's. I have a friend with a fine collection of nicely-engineered upper end waveguide speakers that can actually reach 130+ dB from 20 to 20 KHz. Loud and clean!
My part of the equation is helping people determine what they actually want and want to pay for. For months I've been pointing to people how to listen to a 3 dB change for themselves and just lately I've been trying to help people find out where they currently are on the clean dB SPL scale.
I'm not into helping people just throw equipment at a poorly-defined problem when they can quickly define the benefits and costs for themselves.
3dB is pretty significant when things are already very loud.
Heck even 1 dB can be a big enough gain when you're pushing close to concert level volumes.
I think that is something that people need to judge for themselves. Yes, when you are clipping out a 1,000 watt amplifier it is probably going to cost some real money to get the next 3 dB. I don't think most people come to AVS to justifty spending more money. They come here to obtain improved sound quality and money is usually an issue.
There are times when I wish my subwoofer amp could give just a little bit more and 3 dB would be more than enough.
That's a choice that you get to make! ;-)
If you want insane volume gains past that then you need to take a look at getting more sensitive speakers and/or looking into buying a stand alone amp preferably around 200 to 300 watts per channel.
Fact is that more sensitive speakers is probably the better sounding and cost effective way to go, as long as you can play that card. Less so for subwoofers because size and efficiency are bound together.
Of course upgrading is pointless if you're just afraid of running out of power but don't actually run out. Just about any good receiver that shoves out 90 to 100 watts into your speakers is usually enough power. Like mcnarus said, extra headroom that you're never going to use is useless.